Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2013 http://archive.org/details/newmanstheoryofdOOmoll 21 ,kJ5 EPISCOPAL DIVINITY SCHOOL NEWMAN'S THEORY OF DEVELOPMENT AND ITS HISTORICAL CONTEXT A THESIS SUBMITTED TO CERTIFY SPECIAL COMPETENCE IN HISTORICAL THEOLOGY FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS BY MICHAEL B. JOSEPH MOLLEUR CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS APRIL, 1995 THESIS READERS Lloyd G. Patterson, Faculty Advisor William Reed Huntington Professor of Historical Theology Fredrica Harris Thompsett, Academic Dean Mary Wolfe Professor of Historical Theology Robert T. Brooks Candidate for the Degree of Master of Divinity TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter Page 1. INTRODUCTION 1 2. NEWMAN'S THEORY OF DEVELOPMENT 5 The University Sermon on Developments in Religious Doctrine The Essay on Development 3. NEWMAN'S THEORY IN ITS HISTORICAL SETTING .... 21 Roman Catholic Responses Anglican Criticisms The Intellectual Climate of Newman's Day 4. SOME PROBLEMS WITH NEWMAN'S THEORY 35 Development From What ; The Question of the "Original Idea" of Christianity Development To What ; The Teleological Question The Question of New or Ongoing Revelation 5. FINAL OBSERVATIONS 47 NOTES 52 BIBLIOGRAPHY 60 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION In his book From Bossuet to Newman , which has been deservedly termed a minor classic, * Owen ChadwicJc notes that "[t]he relation of Christianity to history is seen to be entangled with questions about the truth of Christianity, and the various ways in which its faith is formed and formulated." 2 Professor Chadwick proceeds to identify some of the different ways Christian thinkers have attempted to explain religious change ("religious change" being essentially synonymous with "the relation of Christianity to history"). As the title of his book indicates, Chadwick's study ends with John Henry Newman, whose explanation of the relation between Christianity and history, or religious change, has been widely regarded as "the almost inevitable starting point for an investigation of development of doctrine. "^ This thesis will explore Newman's notion of the development of doctrine, with attention to the historical context in which he wrote. Prior to the nineteenth century, no one paid much attention to the relation between Christianity and history. Seeming changes in Christian doctrine (for no "real" changes were admitted) were accounted for by Bossuet as mere 1 translations into clearer language, in which only the wording of a doctrine, but never the idea, changed. 4 Medieval theologians typically explained "changes" in terms of logical deduction: if "two revealed premises may be put together to produce a conseguence, the conseguence must be as certain as the premises, and it can only be as certain as the premises if it has itself the certainty of revelation." 5 Another notion which came into play was the Disciplina Arcani , which claimed that the Church always taught what it now teaches, only previously the teaching had been kept secret from the public, lest the Church run the risk of casting its pearls before trampling swine. A heightened historical consciousness was one of the primary intellectual shifts which distinguished the thought of the nineteenth century from that of previous ages. This shift helped give rise to the greatest theological problem of the nineteenth-century: "the problem of the relation between Christian certainty and the inevitable failure of historical inguiry ever to produce results which are more than probable results." 7 It is within this background and context that, in the 1840' s, John Henry Newman attempted to articulate his own understanding of the relation between Christianity and history. He did so by means of his "theory of the development of doctrine," which he offered as "an expedient to enable us to solve what has now become a necessary and an anxious problem."** The new problem was the truth of Christianity in the light of historical criticism. In 1853 Robert Wilberforce read Newman's Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine / which had been published eight years previously. Wilberforce then wrote to Newman, requesting further clarification of his "theory of development." Newman responded as follows: . . . [T]he Holy Ghost, saw, that one truth must sink into the mind , i.e. be developed, before another? e.g. first the being of God (against Gnosticism etc.) then the Divinity of the Son (against Arianism), then the Incarnation etc. etc. — not as if the truths were not given from the first , but they had to be worked out historically over long periods, in order to be realized in the hearts of the millions and of the teaching body etc. 9 In this response to Wilberforce we have perhaps the most succinct statement of Newman's understanding of doctrinal development. Christian truths have to be worked out historically , over long periods. But whether or not Newman's theory will allow him to maintain, as he does emphatically in the above quotation, that those truths were "given from the first" (in a once-and-f or-all, final revelation of God in Christ, entrusted to the apostles) is a question that will require careful examination. The next chapter of this thesis will analyze Newman's two primary works dealing with doctrinal development: his 1843 university sermon "The Theory of Developments in Religious Doctrine" and the 1845 Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine . When he preached the former, which was the last of his Oxford University sermons, Newman was already questioning his membership in the Church of England. By the time he published the latter, he had taken 4 the first steps toward reception into the Roman Catholic Church. The third chapter will discuss the responses, both Roman Catholic and Anglican, which the Essay on Development provoked, as well as the degree to which both Newman and his "theory" fit in with the prevailing intellectual climate of the mid-nineteenth century. Chapter Four will consider three problems or questions which arise from the study of Newman's theory. The first concerns Newman's notion of the "original idea" of Christianity; the second probes the teleological implications of the theory; and the third deals with the particularly thorny issue, already noted above, of whether Newman's theory demands a corresponding notion of continuous revelation. In the fifth chapter some concluding observations will be made concerning Newman and his "theory of the development of doctrine." CHAPTER 2 NEWMAN'S THEORY OF DEVELOPMENT Nicholas Lash points out that some commentators, "in their search for Newman's 'theory' of development, devote the greater part of their analysis to the sermon rather than to the Essay . " * Lash suggests that the reason some prefer the sermon over the Essay might be the closeness with which Newman, in the sermon, presses the analogy between the development of an idea within a society, and the development of an idea in the mind of an individual. I suspect there is a far more general explanation for the appeal of the sermon. It contains, within the space of 40 short pages, many of the essential elements that would later figure in the 445-page Essay . 3 since Newman wrote the sermon less than two years before he began work on the Essay , the sermon can be viewed as his precis for the longer and much more complex Essay which followed. It is not the intention, in this thesis, to devote the greater part of the analysis to the sermon. However, the value of the sermon as a preliminary study of Newman's understanding of doctrinal development is considerable. The sermon will therefore be given some attention before proceeding to the Essay . The University Sermon on Developments in Religious Doctrine "The Theory of Developments in Religious Doctrine" was the title of the fifteenth (and final) of Newman's Oxford University sermons. He preached the sermon on the Feast of the Purification in the year 1843, at a time when he was experiencing grave doubts as to whether he could remain in the Church of England, but before he had decided to join the Roman Catholic Church. He took as his text Luke 2:19 — "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." Mary, Newman suggests, is a type or icon of development. As she "kept" and "pondered" the mystery of the Incarnation, so the Church keeps and ponders, and thereby develops, the doctrines of the faith. It is important to note that Newman is not trying to decide whether Christianity has developed; he takes it for granted that Christianity has developed. None of the Christian bodies of the mid-nineteenth century, whether Roman Catholic, Anglican, or Protestant (he barely acknowledges the existence of Eastern Orthodoxy!), was identical to Newman's conception of the "Great Church" of the apostolic and patristic eras. Both in terms of theology and polity, all churches had undergone change, or developed. "The controversy between the English Church and the Church of Rome [therefore] lies," writes Newman in this sermon, " in the matter of fact , whether such and such developments are true, . . . not in the principle of development itself." 4 He cites as an example the doctrine of Purgatory, which Roman Catholics hold, but Anglicans deny, to be a true development of the doctrine of post- baptismal sin. 5 Thus, the issues which are of real interest to Newman are how Christian doctrine develops, and how we distinguish true developments from false ones. The notion that Christianity begins as an idea is central in the sermon, as it will be in the Essay . Unfortunately, nowhere in the sermon does Newman define exactly what he means by "idea"; but the fact that he uses the words "idea" and "impression" interchangeably throughout the sermon is instructive. We frequently find phrases such as "inward impression," "religious impression," and "sacred impression" used as synonyms for "idea."" "A mere religious impression, and perhaps an unconscious one" is perhaps the closest we will come, in Newman's own words, to his understanding of "idea." 7 Newman speaks not only of ideas , in the plural, but also of "the great idea," "the original idea," "the one idea" which is of the essence of Christianity, without ever specifiying the content of that one, great, original idea. He does say that "the human mind cannot reflect upon that idea, except piecemeal, cannot use it in its oneness and entireness, nor without resolving it into a series of aspects and relations." 9 Newman thus claims to know that there is one, great, original idea of Christianity, despite the fact that he is unable to say, or even to know, what that idea is. This significant weakness 8 in Newman's argument was to be greatly criticized by the Anglican writers who responded to his "theory of development," as will be seen in the next chapter. The stages by which an idea, or religious impression, is transformed into a doctrine is, in Newman's analysis, the process of that idea's development. Taking as examples the Trinity and the Incarnation, Newman outlines the following six-step dialectic, by which the initial idea or inward impression "develops" into a doctrine: 1. The mind naturally turns "with a devout curiosity to the contemplation of the Object of its adoration," in this instance either to the glory of the Trinity or the mystery of the Incarnation. 2. The mind next "begins to form statements concerning" the Divine reality, not knowing where these mental formations will eventually lead it. 3 . " One proposition necessarily leads to another , " and that to a third, etc. 4. " Some limitation is required ." Newman does not specify what the limits are, or how they are achieved . 5. The opposites produced by the limiting process are combined together , occasioning "fresh evolutions from the original idea." 6. The end result is a " body of dogmatic statements , " i.e., a series of reasoned propositions, on the subject of either the Trinity or the 9 Incarnation. ^ Newman concludes his analysis of this dialectic of development by drawing our attention to the fact that what began as "an impression on the Imagination has become a system or creed in the Reason." 1 ^ Note that once again he makes no distinction between an "idea in the mind" and an "impression on the imagination." The process of development does not end once an idea has issued into a doctrine. Doctrines themselves give birth to further doctrines; "one dogma creates another, by the same right by which it was itself created. "^ Newman's reasoning forces him to the conclusion that not all Christian doctrines can be found in scripture, and he does not shrink from that conclusion. He states boldly that "it is a mistake to look for every separate proposition of the Catholic doctrine in Scripture" ; ^ the statements of scripture begin but do not exhaust Christian doctrine. Does Newman's reasoning also force him into a notion of new or ongoing revelation? New doctrine does not necessarily imply new revelation. For example, a new doctrine concerning the Trinity might simply mean that we now understand the revelation about the Divine Trinity in Unity more clearly or fully than we ever had before, without there having necessarily been any change in the revelation itself. This difficult issue of continuous revelation will need to be revisited more than once in the pages to come. To conclude this analysis of the sermon on 10 developments/ the question naturally arises: where does Newman's process of development finally lead? Do ideas continue to develop into doctrines, and doctrines into further doctrines, ad infinitum ? Or does the process reach a definite end point? 14 (These will also prove to be recurring questions.) In the sermon, Newman's teleology is contradictory. In some places he seems to say that the process of development does come to an end, using expressions such as a dogma's arriving at "its exact and determinate issue," 15 and the evolution of a Christian doctrine to the point of "whole truth." 16 In other places, however, he implies that the process of development is unending. One example is his contention that "the Catholic dogmas are . . . but symbols of a Divine fact, which, far from being compassed by those very propositions, would not be exhausted, nor fathomed by a thousand." 1 ' Newman seems to be saying in this latter instance that there will always be room for improvement and growth in the realm of Christian doctrine. Perhaps the Essay on Development , to which we now turn our attention, will prove to contain a more conclusive teleology. The Essay on Development An assertion that is frequently made about Newman is that, in the process of composing An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine , he "wrote himself into" the Roman Catholic Church. In terms of chronology, this 11 assertion certainly appears to be valid. When Newman began the Essay in early 1845 he was still a priest in the Church of England. Before he had completed the final draft, ten months or so later, he had taken the first steps toward reception into the Roman Catholic Church. However, this assertion that Newman "wrote himself into" his new religious allegiance is questionable. There is significant evidence, which will be discussed below, that Newman had already made up his mind about converting to Roman Catholicism, and that the purpose of the Essay , at least in part, was to justify, or to provide an intellectual rationale for, his conversion. The Purpose of the Essay In the Essay itself, Newman states that the primary purpose of his theory of development is to offer "an hypothesis to account for a dif f iculty . " *° The "difficulty" is the problem of religious change generally, the problem of change in Christianity more specifically, and, arguably, the problem of Newman's own change of religious allegiance most specifically. An assumption about the doctrine of Tradition which was widely held by Roman Catholics prior to the nineteenth century was that Christianity does not change . Its immutability was viewed as demonstration of its truth. Newman, a skilled and usually honest historian, knew this common assumption to be false; the evidence of history simply did not point to an immutable Christianity. "I 12 concede," writes Newman in the Essay , "that there are to be found, during the 1800 years through which it has lasted, certain apparent inconsistencies and alterations in its doctrine and its worship. . . . " 19 His avowed purpose in setting forth his theory of development is to demonstrate that the Roman Catholicism of his own day was " in its substance the very religion which Christ and His Apostles taught in the first [century], whatever may be the modifications for good or for evil" which have resulted with the passage of time. 20 Thus Newman concedes that there have been changes in Christian doctrine and practice, but he also maintains that those changes do not signify any alteration in the essence of Christianity. His theory of development attempts to demonstrate how this can be so. So much for Newman's avowed purpose in writing the Essay . His other, less directly stated purpose was apologetic — the justification of his own conversion, his own Christian/religious change. There are some hints of this apologetic purpose in the Essay itself. For example, at one point Newman says that "a gradual conversion from a false to a true religion, plainly, has much of the character of a continuous process, or a development." Furthermore, "such a change consists in addition and increase chiefly, not in destruction." 21 Might Newman be here alluding to his own "development" from the "false" religion of the Church of England to the "true religion" of Roman Catholicism, a change which consisted not in the "destruction" of what was 13 valid in Anglicanism, but rather in the "addition and increase" of those elements (the papacy, purgatory, transubstantiation, the cultus of Mary and the saints, etc.) which were held by Rome but rejected by the Church of England? Newman admits the apologetic purpose of the Essay more directly in his autobiographical Apologia pro Vita Sua , where he writes: "I was engaged in writing a book ( Essay on Development ) in favour of the Roman Church, and indirectly [sic!] against the English. . . ," 22 Lash notes that Newman's other autobiographical materials (letters and diaries) likewise demonstrate that "his •object* was to 'put before the mind a straightforward argument for joining the Church of Rome, leaving difficulties to shift for themselves . • "23 The reason for calling attention to this question of Newman's purpose in writing the Essay is that, generally speaking, the writer of apologetic is less concerned with attention to detail and internal consistency than is the writer of systematic theology. Newman's "theory of development" will be shown to have more than its share of inconsistencies, which he would indeed seem to have been content to allow to "shift for themselves." We may more easily forgive Newman for these inconsistencies, if we frankly admit that his purpose in the Essay was as much to defend his own conversion as to produce a theological treatise. 14 Organization of the Essay The third edition of the Essay (1878) was Newman's final re-working of the book. The differences between the first two editions (1845 and 1846) were very minor; in the third edition, however, Newman undertook a major reorganization of the book. Substantive changes were few and, for the most part, not significant. The order of the contents, however, was completely rearranged. For the purposes of this thesis the third, and now definitive, edition of the Essay will be used. It has the advantage of being both Newman's final word on the topic, and the most widely available in-print edition of the book. The drawback of using the third edition is that it is not the exact edition of the Essay to which Newman's first generation of Roman Catholic and Anglican critics responded. But agairv, the substantive changes between 1845 and 1878 were few. The third edition is divided into two major parts: Part One is called "Doctrinal Developments Viewed in Themselves," and Part Two, "Doctrinal Developments Viewed Relatively to Doctrinal Corruptions." All of the particulars of Newman's "theory of development" are laid out in Part One. Part Two, which comprises nearly two-thirds of the book, is concerned with the explication of what Newman refers to as the seven "notes" by which to distinguish true doctrinal developments from corruptions. The overwhelming consensus of Newman scholars is that Part Two adds little of value to Newman's project. Chadwick refers to the seven 15 "notes" as "'tests' which Newman half-heartedly alleged for distinguishing true developments from false developments." 24 Lash adds that, "[i]n practice ... it is doubtful whether Newman's tests could be effectively applied so as to ensure that any significant impoverishment, distortion or suppression would be detected." 25 A minority opinion is held by Hugo Meynell, who maintains that the "notes" do accomplish their purpose, despite the fact that Newman himself seems to have conceded that they failed to perform the task he had hoped they would perform. 25 Since I agree that the seven "notes" add nothing of significance to Newman's attempt to articulate a theory of development, the remainder of the analysis in this section will be confined to an examination of Part One of the Essay . The Theory of Development . . . [T]he increase and expansion of the Christian Creed and Ritual, and the variations which have attended the process in the case of individual writers and Churches, are the necessary attendants on any philosophy or polity which takes possession of the intellect and heart, and has had any wide or extended dominion; . . . from the nature of the human mind, time is necessary for the full comprehension and perfection of great ideas; . . . the highest and most wonderful truths, though communicated to the world once for all by inspired teachers, could not be comprehended all at once by the recipients, but, as being received and transmitted by minds not inspired and through media which were human, have required only the longer time and deeper thought for their full elucidation. This may be called the Theory of Development of Doctrine . . , 27 Here, in his own words, we have one of Newman's more 16 concise expositions of a central aspect of his "theory of development." Change, growth, development, is a natural and expected attribute of any living, healthy entity. Christianity is such an entity. Great ideas do not enter the human mind full-blown; they may only be grasped gradually, over long periods of time. Christianity presents itself to the human mind as that type of idea. This is not to say that the truths to which those great ideas point are not in themselves complete and entire. Father, because of the limitations of our human minds, we are only able to take those truths in and comprehend them a little at a time. Christianity is such a complete, once-and-for-all truth, despite the fact that the human minds which together comprise the Church here on earth can only assimilate that truth bit by bit. The many doctrines of the Church are like so many aspects or facets of the One Great Idea which Christianity impresses on our minds. Christian doctrine thus grows over time, or develops, as the corporate mind of the Church expands in its knowledge of the one, unchanging, ultimate truth. There is a strong temptation at this point to assert that the above statements constitute, in summary form, "Newman's theory of development." However, that temptation must be resisted. As Lash has convincingly demonstrated, Newman's "theory" does not allow itself to be so easily summarized. He repeatedly warns "against abstracting any particular feature," for example the lengthy quotation 17 above, "from the total argument of the Essay , and identifying it alone with 'Newman's theory of development.'" 28 The reason for this is that, when the Essay is viewed as a whole, it becomes apparent that Newman never does state straightforwardly one coherent theory. Rather, what he actually generates are several "rudimentary •theories,'" some of which can be shown to be "mutually incompatible." 29 Furthermore, Newman's apologetic purpose results in arguments that often tend to be more "persuasive" and "non-demonstrative" than rigorously consistent and logical. 30 Put another way, the Essay frequently reads more like a sermon than a theological treatise. The sense in which such persuasive, non-demonstrative arguments can be held to constitute a unified theory is, as Lash rightly maintains, "heavily qualified." 31 More specifically, Newman complicates the issue of doctrinal development by bringing a number of "sub-theories" into the discussion. Three examples of such sub-theories are: the "all or nothing" theory; the theory of "antecedent probability"; and the theory of an "infallible developing authority" (the latter two, although not the first, are Newman's own designations). According to Newman, we "must accept the whole [of Roman Catholic dogma] or reject the whole; attenuation does but enfeeble, and amputation mutilate." 32 Here we have examples of both the sub-theory of "all or nothing," and Newman's use of persuasive (sermonic) rather than 18 demonstrative (theological) language. Roman Catholic doctrine, in Newman's opinion, comes as a sort of "package deal." The fact that one or some of its doctrines are true guarantees that they all are true; they admit of no picking and choosing. Since all the doctrines "together make up one integral religion, it follows that . . . [all] must be thrown into a common stock, and all are available in the defense of any." 33 But why must this be so? How can it be reasonably held that, for example, the truth of the doctrine of the Incarnation guarantees the truth of the doctrine of Transubstantiation? Or how can the doctrine of the Trinity meaningfully be brought to the defense of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception? Newman's sub-theory of "all or nothing" unnecessarily complicates the issue of doctrinal development, without contributing anything constructive to that issue. The second sub-theory, "antecedent probability," is, in Newman's scheme, an argument from fittingness. The fact that we can identify a lack or a need makes it likely, or antecedently probable, that God will make provision for or supply that need. Newman argues that just as, in the visible creation, "the need and its supply are a proof of [providential] design," just so the "gaps ... which occur in the structure of the original creed of the Church, make it probable that those developments, which grow out of the truths which lie around it, were intended to fill them up." 34 Thus in Christian doctrine as well as in the natural 19 order, need constitutes proof of supply; the fact that we think it would be fitting for God to do something, is sufficient proof that God did it or will do it. An example of such antecedent probability can be seen in Newman's third sub-theory, the infallible developing authority. He maintains that, "in proportion to the probability of true developments of doctrine and practice in the Divine Scheme, so is the probability also of the appointment in that scheme of an external authority to decide upon them. . . . " 35 At one po i n t Newman locates this infallible authority in the church, ° at other points in the office of the papacy. 37 He further states that the "absolute need of a spiritual supremacy is at present the strongest of arguments in favour of the fact of its supply." 38 Need guarantees supply. This "strongest of arguments" is a very weak one indeed. Even if all people agreed with Newman's subjective analysis of the situation (that a spiritual supremacy is absolutely needed), which they certainly do not , still, how could the human perception of the existence of such a need possibly constitute proof that God has or will supply that need? Is God to be bound by our perceptions of what is lacking, and of what would constitute a fitting supply for that lack? Such an assertion comes perilously close to idolatry. As was the case with the "all or nothing" theory, Newman's theories of antecedent probability and an infallible developing authority serve only to complicate, not clarify, the issue 20 of doctrinal development. Three important questions concerning the theory of development set forth in Newman's Essay remain to be discussed: his notion of the "original idea" of Christianity; the teleological implications of the theory; and the problem of ongoing revelation. Since these questions will be the primary focus of Chapter Four, as well as a significant emphasis in the "Anglican Criticisms" section of Chapter Three, nothing more will be said about them at this point. The issue which must now be raised is the that of the reception of the Essay . CHAPTER 3 NEWMAN'S THEORY IN ITS HISTORICAL SETTING According to Stephen Prickett, Newman's Essay was "widely read and reviewed with equally varying degrees of incomprehension. On the whole, [Roman] Catholic critics found Newman's reasons for joining Holy Mother Church as tortuous and eccentric as Anglicans found his reasons for quitting the Via Media ."* Perhaps Prickett is correct in his assertion that Newman's readers failed to comprehend his theory of doctrinal development. It is certainly the case that the readers of the Essay , both Roman Catholic and Anglican, reacted with disapproval. In this chapter I will first discuss the Roman Catholic and Anglican responses to the Essay , and then consider the larger contextual issue of how Newman generally, and his theory of doctrinal development specifically, fit in with the intellectual climate of Newman's day. Roman Catholic Responses Newman was an astonishing "catch" for the Roman Catholic Church. He was a well known theological writer and the leader of the Church of England party that was most open to Roman Catholicism. Rome could have a reasonable 21 22 expectation of further conversions, as some of Newman's disciples and admirers were bound follow his lead. However, this is by no means to say that Rome extended open arms to his theory of doctrinal development. Newman therefore found himself in an awkward position: his person was welcomed warmly and sympathetically by Rome, despite the fact that they found his thought perplexing and sometimes frightening. ^ The prevailing Roman Catholic suspicion of Newman and his Essay was that "the old arguments which had satisfied for centuries did not satisfy him, that he needed to attribute something new to the Church, a rare and peculiar theory, before he could conscientiously join."-^ Two of the most prominent Roman Catholic theologians in Italy at that time were the Jesuits Passaglia and Perrone. Passaglia proved to be a vehement and life-long critic of Newman; 4 Perrone outrightly denied his thesis concerning doctrinal development. Newman received some of his harshest criticism from Roman Catholics who were native speakers of the English language. One example was Dr. Alexander Grant, rector of the Scots College in Rome. After reading the Essay , Grant came to the conclusion that Newman was guilty of "material heresy," and he outspokenly shared this opinion with his associates in Rome. 6 There was also the American, Orestes Brownson, who was without doubt the most vicious of Newman's detractors. Like Grant, Brownson was convinced that 23 Newman's thought was heretical. His bishop (Fitzpatrick of Boston) concurred.' In a series of articles published in his own journal, Brownson's Quarterly Review , Brownson did not content himself with the attempt to disprove Newman's theology. He attacked Newman's person as well, calling into question Newman's character and motives.® Clearly, the Roman Catholic Church of the 1840 's was not ready for a theory of doctrinal development. What Chadwick says of Perrone would appear to be true of the Roman Catholic divinity of the day in general: he (Perrone) "had no notion of the difficulties created for the older form of the doctrine of tradition by modern historical research."^ As will be shown in the final section of this chapter, Newman was no advocate of the new "science of history." Nevertheless, he did perceive that the old notion of tradition, which maintains that Christianity does not change, is untenable in the face of the evidence of history. Anglican Criticisms The Anglican response to Newman's Essay was immediate and extensive. Writing in 1847, two years after the publication of the Essay , J. B. Mozley noted the nine Anglican responses which he considered to be the better ones; 1 ^ clearly Newman did not lack for feedback from his former confreres in the Church of England. Mozley's response has been widely regarded as the most convincing — as brilliant as Newman's own Essay , in the opinion of Charles 24 Gore. 11 As indicated in the discussion of the sermon on developments/ Newman did not think the issue was whether or not Christianity has developed; he took it for granted that Christianity, in both its Roman Catholic and Anglican manifestations/ had developed. Mozley and F. D. Maurice accept Newman's assumption in that regard. "The principle of development is of course admitted," writes Mozley; "there can be no doubt that Christianity was intended to develop itself. It was intended to do so on the same general law on which great principles and institutions, we may say all things/ great or small/ do." 12 Likewise Maurice has no doubt that Christianity develops. In his commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews/ which contains a review of Newman's Essay / Maurice maintains that the essential elements of a doctrine of development can be found in the pages of Hebrews. 13 Therefore it is not Newman's assertion of development that the Anglican critics question, but rather his explanation of development. Newman's Notion of "Corruption" One of Mozley 's central and most convincing critiques is his contention that Newman's understanding of corruption is one-sided and unfairly favors the Roman Catholic Church. In Chapter 6 of the Essay , where Newman discusses his "note" of the "preservation of type," Mozley correctly charges that Newman limits his definition of corruption to "the 25 destruction of a norm or type." 14 According to Newman's definition, corruption only occurs when a doctrine undergoes "positive failure and decay." 15 What Newman's definition thereby fails to take into consideration is the possibility of corruption by excess or exaggeration ; "corruption being defined to be loss of type, it follows that exaggeration, which is not this, is not corruption." 1 ^ Mozley aptly notes that, armed with such a notion of corruption, one can quite easily "vindicate the Roman system from all corruption," 1 ^ which of course is exactly what Newman believed he had accomplished . Examples cited by Mozley as evidence of his claim that Rome is guilty of corruption by excess, or exaggeration of type, include purgatory, prayers to the saints, and transubstantiation. What the New Testament and early Church saw as an intermediate state between death and heaven, characterized by rest and sleep, later ages exaggerated into a notion of purgatory as a place of torture and suffering, a sort of "temporary hell." 1 ^ Prayers for the dead and commemoration of the saints, a natural and expected part of the piety of the early Church, would by later generations be exaggerated into prayers to the saints, in which the worshiper "asked of the saint the same things which he did of the Almighty, in the same form." 19 As for the doctrine of the eucharist, the early Church had a simple, unspeculative notion of a real change; the bread and wine were somehow, mysteriously, changed into the body and blood 26 of Christ. Later/ however, this idea of change was "analyzed and pushed; it was inferred that if the bread and wine were changed into the body and blood, they must cease to be the substances of bread and wine." 2 In each of these instances, Mozley argues that Roman Catholicism has corrupted the original type of the doctrine, not through decay or destruction of the original type, which is the only notion of "corruption" Newman recognizes, but through exaggeration or excess, which, insists Mozley, is every bit as much a corruption of the original type as is decay. The "Original Idea" of Christianity One of the most common complaints about the Essay made by its earliest Anglican critics was that Newman claimed that Christianity came into the world initially as an idea, but then was unable to state concretely the content of that original idea. 21 Mozley's challenge is typical. He writes, addressing Newman, "Your theory demands a real bona fide exordium: show it. But we make the demand in vain; we try in vain to find out what this original idea is; it nowhere appears; we can make out nothing of it." 22 Maurice too finds it to be a "strange contradiction" that Newman insists, on the one hand, that knowledge of the essential idea of Christianity "is necessary, or at all events would be most convenient," while, on the other, he egually strenuously maintains that this essential idea cannot be arrived at; it "is not forthcoming." 23 27 Christianity, according to the Anglican critics, did not come into the world as an idea, but rather as an institution . Or, if Christianity did come into the world as an idea, the apostles very quickly turned it into an institution. This view is held by John Charles Abraham, writing anonymously as "a Quondam Disciple." For Abraham, the essential meaning of "Christianity" is "Christian society"; 24 his primary point of reference is therefore institutional. George Moberly is willing to concede that Christianity may have come into the world as an idea, if one means by "idea" a "mental illumination granted to the Apostles." But the apostles in turn ordained deacons and elders, and appointed their own successors. What they received as an idea, therefore, they manifestly left as an institution. 2 ^ Along these same lines, Mozley is at a loss to understand "how Mr. Newman can get a Church at all, much less a Papal Church, with its local centre and monarchy, out of an 'idea. ■ " 26 Continuous Revelation ? The early Anglican critics of the Essay were united in their conviction that Newman's theory of development, whether Newman acknowledged the fact or not, required a corresponding notion of new or ongoing revelation. The traditional view is that revelation ceased with the death of the last apostle. William J. Irons speaks for many when he writes that "development, terminating in a 'developing 28 power' [i.e., the infallible developing authority of the papacy], must mean / in Mr. Newman's theory, ' another Revelation / ' 'another Gospel,' — a change in the objects of faith and knowledge." 27 Mozley contrasts two different senses of development, one which he approves, while the other he rejects. The first sense is development as simply an explanatory process: "development is explanation; explanation is development." 2 ** He cites as an example of explanatory development the theology of Nicaea — the fathers at the Council simply used different words than had previously been used to explain, or clarify, the revelation about God which they had inherited. This sense of development is perfectly acceptable and to be expected. The other sense, which Mozley holds to be Newman's and rejects, is development which results in "a positive increase of the substance of the thing developed" — a new entity growing out of, but not contained in, the original material from which the growth began. 29 Examples of this latter concept of development are the Roman Catholic doctrines of purgatory and papal infallibility, which Anglicans claim are not part of the original deposit of faith, and cannot be justified unless recourse is had to some concept of new or ongoing revelation. The most forceful argument concerning Newman's theory and ongoing revelation is made by Moberly, who contends that the theory is based on an "inadmissible hypothesis" tending "to make the Christian system not final." 30 Moberly 29 believes that it is the job of the Church to apply the revelation which it has already received to the various situations in which it finds itself through the ages. This notion of application implies that "the original revelation, with its own proper institution, is scrupulously, exactly, and faithfully (that is, without essential change or addition) brought to bear upon those new occasions" in which the Church of each new generation finds itself. 3 * Newman's theory, maintains Moberly, fails so to preserve the original Christian revelation. God has made a once-and-for-all revelation of "Himself and His will for the salvation of the world." Newman's theory, on the contrary, and the latter- day Roman Catholic developments which it seeks to vindicate, "suppose continual accessions of revealed truth" 32 — a supposition which, for Moberly, is unacceptable. No "Theory" at All The other criticism of the Essay which is mentioned by a number of its early Anglican readers is that it proves Newman to have no single, unified theory of development after all. For example, Mozley, viewing the Essay as a whole, is "unable to discover that Mr. Newman has any regular hypothesis at all"; rather, Mozley sees the Essay as marked by "a looseness and inconsistency which seems to break up his theory as a theory altogether." 33 Irons likewise argues that Newman's "theory has no ideal unity whatever. ... It is, rather, a number of theories, more 30 or less analogous, kept together by an ingenious writer for a definite purpose"^ 4 --the purpose of trying to prove the legitimacy of the later Roman Catholic developments. As noted in the previous chapter, Lash considers these "no •theory' at all" criticisms to be justified. ^5 It is interesting to note that these criticisms from his former fellow churchmen seem to have had little effect on Newman. There is evidence that he felt "much aggrieved" by Mozley's response^ but, maintains Chadwick, there is no evidence whatsoever that Newman made alterations in later editions of the Essay as a result of Anglican criticisms. ^' Prickett holds that Newman did make some changes in the third edition of the Essay due to the response of Maurice. ^° If this is the case, and Chadwick 's statement is a bit too general, it nevertheless remains true that, in proportion to the amount of energy and ink the Anglican writers put into refuting Newman, he barely noticed their efforts, and what he did notice he did not consider worth responding to. The issue which now needs to be addressed is the relation between Newman's "theory of the development of doctrine," and the spirit of the age in which he lived and wrote. The Intellectual Climate of Newman's Day An alternative title for this section could well be "Newman and the Paradox of Progress." The paradox which confronts us as we look more closely at Newman in the 31 context of his historical period is that, while his "theory of development" seems to fit very well with the progressive spirit of his age, the man himself emphatically does not . How do we explain the fact that a man who was in many ways anti-modern and anti-liberal, and who did not believe in "progress," produced a theory that seems to harmonize well with the liberal, modern, progress-oriented notions of thinkers such as Hegel and Darwin? This section will be concerned primarily with the attempt to solve, or at least to account for, that paradox. In its day, Newman's theory of development sounded strikingly "modern," perhaps even "modernist." 39 The first generation of Newman's Anglican critics could not help but notice this fact. Mozley charged Newman with asserting an "ultra-liberal theory of Christianity" and then joining the Roman Catholic Church 4 ^ — no small paradox in itself! Progress, which at the time was widely regarded as something always and necessarily good, 4 * certainly appeared to be a key element in Newman's theory of development. "There is something imposing in the idea of a revelation growing and enlarging," notes Mozley. He continues: "The idea of a fixed settled Revelation . . . does not satisfy ... so well as the idea of its substantially growing up to the present day." 4 ^ Mozley' s comment is as relevant to the discussion of continuing revelation as it is to the question of the intellectual climate of Newman's day. Moberly in his turn accused Newman of caving in to "the 32 pressure of the fertile thought, the many theories of the present age." 4 ^ This "fertile thought" Moberly equates with infidelity. He asserts that Newman's mind was "ready to take up a hint from a modern philosopher and spin it into a bridge to pass the chasm that separates popery from primitive Christianity." 44 Moberly does not name the modern philosopher to whom he here refers, but we can safely assume he has Hegel in mind. As Chadwick points out, it is not surprising that Newman was interpreted along such lines. After all, the word "development," which Newman chose to use in connection with his theory, was typical of the terminology of the philosophies of history, religion, and science which were influential in Newman's day. ^ Newman's seemingly liberal theory of development is one aspect of the "paradox of progress"; his personal anti- liberalism is the other. Robert Pattison has demonstrated that Newman was "the uncontaminated antagonist of everything modern," who despised above all else the "anti-dogmatic principle" of the liberalism of modern culture. ° Newman's early work on the Arians of the fourth century led him to the conviction that Arius was the first person to infect the Church with "liberal apostasy," an infection from which the Church has never since been totally free. 47 Led by this conviction, Newman carried out in his writings "the most uncompromising condemnation of modern civilization yet attempted." 48 He was undeniably a man devoid of liberal sympathies . 33 Chadwick adds that Newman was never one to believe in progress, religious or secular. 9 As a result he greatly distrusted the new "science of history," along with its claim that history is to be understood "as a series of phenomena, produced by causes and susceptible of •explanation.'"- 50 Newman thought of himself primarily as a historian, but he wanted nothing to do with the "notorious principles" of the "new" history of his age. 5 * So what is the solution to the paradox of Newman and progress? I believe Chadwick is close when he writes, concerning the Essay t "The line of thought, the expression of ideas, the use of analogies, the form and argument were Newman's, original to him, individual, stamped with the impress of that unusual cast of mind." 52 The problem of how to account for religious change was typical of Newman's age. However, the solution Newman offered to that problem, in his "theory of development," was not a product of the age, any more than Newman himself was a product of that age. Newman's theory of development was rather the highly idiosyncratic product of a most unconventional mind. The fact that he used the word "development" is only coincidental and must not be overstressed. Newman did not choose it because it was a catchword of the intellectual climate of his day, but rather because (for some reason known only to Newman) he thought the word "development" adequately or accurately described the phenomenon he was trying to explain. 34 It was noted at the conclusion of Chapter Two of this thesis that the examination of three important problems with Newman's "theory of development" was being postponed until a later time. That time has now arrived. CHAPTER 4 SOME PROBLEMS WITH NEWMAN'S THEORY Three significant problems concerning Newman's attempt to articulate a theory of the development of doctrine , which arise in his university sermon on developments and carry over into the Essay on Development / are: the notion of the "original idea" of Christianity; the question of the teleological implications of the theory; and the issue of whether Newman's theory of development implies or requires a corresponding theory of continuing revelation. These problems will now be examined with fuller attention than they have thus far received. Development Fro« What; The Question of the "Original Idea" of Christianity As noted in Chapter Two, in the course of his sermon on developments Newman asserts that there is a single , great/ original idea that corresponds with Christianity, an idea which cannot be adequately stated or fully known. 1 It is from the seed of that original idea that Christian doctrinal developments grow. This same notion of Christianity's "original idea" carries over into the Essay . Newman begins the second chapter of the Essay by 35 36 describing Christianity as a "fact" which "impresses an idea of itself on our minds. "^ This idea which the fact of Christianity impresses on our minds is at the outset unitary. However, that single idea "will in course of time expand into a multitude of ideas, and aspects of ideas, connected and harmonious with one another. "^ Thus the original idea of Christianity gives birth to further ideas; it grows and develops. This "special" idea is so deep and rich that it "cannot be fully understood at once"; rather it becomes "more and more clearly expressed" with the passing of time. He notes with disapproval that an attempt is sometimes made "to determine the 'leading idea,' as it has been called, of Christianity," to identify explicitly "its one idea. "^ Newman emphatically denies the possibility of so identifying or determining that essential idea of Christianity: "such a task is beyond us." 6 Despite his unwillingness, or inability, in both the sermon and the Essay , to state forthrightly the content of the central idea of Christianity, Newman does believe that the central aspect , or component, of that idea can be known. He writes: "I should myself call the Incarnation the central aspect of Christianity, ... [b]ut one aspect of Revelation must not be allowed to exclude or to obscure another." 7 Newman holds the Incarnation to be the central aspect of the idea of Christianity because, he maintains, three other key "aspects" ("the sacramental, the hierarchical, and the ascetic") all "take their rise" from 37 the Incarnation." It is interesting to note that, while working on revisions, Newman made the following notation in the margin of his copy of the 1845 edition of the Essay ; "Surely the leading idea of the Gospel is the Redemption 'Xt crucif ied . ' "" Perhaps, deep down, Newman did think the leading idea of Christianity could be identified? Maybe so- but we should be careful not to base too much on a scribbled note that Newman thought no one but himself would ever read. In his published writings on development, he is consistent in his denial of the possibility of knowing or articlulating Christianity's essential idea, just as he is consistent in his assertion that such an idea truly exists. Newman's first generation of Anglican critics are partly, although not wholly, justified in their critique of Newman's notion of the original idea of Christianity. Their claim (against Newman) that Christianity came into the world as an institution rather than an idea, is based on a misreading of Newman. Newman does not say that Christianity "came into the world" as an idea. On the contrary, he is careful to say that Christianity came into the world as a " fact " — a fact which "impresses an idea of itself on our minds. "^ Jesus Christ and the church he founded are facts in the world's history; it is via those facts that Christianity came into the world. We seek to understand and analyze the fact of Christianity by means of the idea which it impresses on our minds, but the fact, not the idea, comes first. 38 On the other hand, the Anglican critics were justified in their complaint that it is not intellectually fair for Newman to base his entire theory of development on the assertion that there is an original, single idea of Christianity out of which all subsequent developments grow, when he is unable to say anything concrete about the content of that idea. Newman's approach amounts to a tease. If he is unable to say something more direct about the foundation of his theory of development, he is obligated, if he wants to be intellectually honest, to find another foundation. One of the most questionable aspects of Newman's notion of the development of Christian doctrine from a single idea is the very frequent use of organic analogies by which he attempts to demonstrate that notion. In one place he compares this process to the growth of a baby into a youth, in another to the growth of a bird from an egg. 11 Thus, Newman claims that the process by which the dogmatic system of the nineteenth-century Roman Catholic Church developed from the original idea of Christianity is like the maturation process in animals: from embryo to child to adult, many changes are noticeable, but still it is essentially the same animal. In a context unrelated to Newman, Robert Wilken has correctly pointed out that the "Christian theological tradition did not develop out of a single original idea like the growth of a plant from a seed." The reason for this is that the "organic metaphor does not sit easily with 39 historical experience. Ideas and institutions take shape as they interact with forces outside of themselves as well as from internal logic or entelechy . " 12 Christian doctrine has grown in fits and starts , often in reaction to the social and philosophical milieu in which it has found itself. It has experienced lengthy periods of stagnation and even decay which do not square with a notion of steady, ever-increasing growth. Thus, contrary to Newman's analysis, the development of Christian doctrine from a single idea cannot accurately be compared to the gradual growth and maturation of a living thing; the analogy between organic and historical growth simply does not hold. Development To What: The Teleoloqical Question The issue of concern at this point is whether or not the process of doctrinal development, as conceived by Newman, reaches some definite conclusion. Does the time ever arrive when a doctrine can be said to be "fully developed?" This question was raised earlier, in the context of Newman's sermon on developments. The sermon was found to be 1 q contradictory in regard to the issue of teleology. J In some instances Newman seems to say that the process of doctrinal development does come to an end, in other places just the opposite: that the process goes on for ever. An examination of the Essay leads to the same conclusion; in the Essay , as in the sermon, Newman's teleology is 40 contradictory. On the one hand, Newman speaks of doctrines reaching "their full elucidation"; of their growing up into a "body of thought"; of their arriving at their "legitimate results." 14 Elsewhere he says that developments "terminate" in an idea's "exact and complete delineation. " -^ Phrases such as these indicate a process which comes to a definite conclusion. Newman also refers to the church's official definition of a dogma as a termination. 16 At several points in the Essay Newman attempts to demonstrate that his own theory is in basic agreement with the thought of Butler. Chadwick aptly notes that such is not the case in this instance: "For Butler 'development' means progress in theology. For Newman 'development' means progress in theology until the results become binding upon the belief of Christians," 17 which occurs when a dogma has been officially defined by Rome. Thus, there is significant evidence in the Essay that Newman does hold that the process of doctrinal development comes to a definite end. But the evidence supporting the opposite conclusion (an unending process of development) is just as significant. For instance, in the Introduction to the Essay Newman writes that the "variations" in Christianity "manifest themselves . . . by a visible growth which has persevered up to this i ft time without any sign of its coming to an end." 10 And later, in the body of the Essay , he says that we "find ourselves unable to fix an historical point at which the 41 growth of doctrine ceased, and the rule of faith was once for all settled. Not on the day of Pentecost, ... not on the death of the last Apostle, ... [n]ot in the Creed. "^ These two quotations clearly imply that doctrinal development is an ongoing, never ending process — in direct contradiction to the statements noted in the preceding paragraph. Oddly enough, this teleological inconsistency is not something for which Newman's early Anglican critics faulted him. If they noticed it, they must have decided to draw their battle-lines elsewhere; the issue simply does not arise in their published reactions to the Essay . The problem with Newman's self-contradiction is that it weakens the credibility of his overall argument for the theory of development. The reader of theological treatises rightly expects the absence of obvious inconsistencies, but in regard to teleology such inconsistencies are present in both Newman's sermon and Essay . His argument would have been strengthened if he had simply decided this issue one way or the other, and made the strongest case possible in support of that position. Instead he argues, at different times, in favor of both sides of the question. The critique that the Essay reads more like a work of apologetics than systematics is relevant once again. 42 The Question of New or Ongoing Revelation As noted in the previous chapter, one of the most strenuous criticisms made by the first Anglican readers of the Essay was that its theory of development either advocated, or required, a parallel theory of new or continuing revelation. Those readers argued that the traditional Christian understanding of the finality of revelation could not be held in conjunction with Newman's theory of development. Newman undeniably holds that there are new doctrines, and that the Spirit guides the church into the defining of new dogmas. An essay on the development of doctrine would be pointless if doctrine did not change. However, doctrine and dogma are not the same as revelation . The two concepts are separable, and it is conceivable for doctrine to change without any corresponding change in revelation. Perhaps doctrine is changing because it is growing closer to the truth of the underlying revelation ("development"), or perhaps it is drawing farther away from that revelation ("corruption"). In either case, the fact of a change in doctrine says nothing in itself about the state of revelation. Therefore, the question of interest now is whether Newman, against the longstanding belief of the Christian theological tradition, holds that not only doctrine, but also revelation, is mutable. Based on the evidence of the Essay , the answer to that question would seem to be that Newman's theory does indeed 43 include a notion of new or continuing revelation, even if he occasionally gives lip service to the more traditional view. At one point in the Essay Newman refers to "that body of teaching which is offered to all Christians" which is partly "a comment, partly an addition upon the articles of the Creed." 20 The implication is that the creeds are insufficient or incomplete statements of Christian revelation. Similarly, Newman writes that God "gave the Creed once for all in the beginning, yet blesses its growth still, and provides for its increase." 21 In what meaningful sense can that which is "given once for all" be said also to "grow and increase"? The two concepts would appear to be mutually exclusive. Furthermore, Newman states that, if we suppose the natural order to have been "once broken by the introduction of a revelation, the continuance of that revelation is but a question of degree." 22 A revelation once given will necessarily be ongoing or continuous? On the contrary—the necessary connection between those two notions of revelation (once-given and continuing) is not apparent. Finally, Newman also describes the process of revelation as being "various, complex, progressive, and supplemental of itself." 2 ^ Revelation changes. An instance of Newman's acknowledging the more traditional understanding is his claim that "the holy Apostles would without words know all the truths concerning the high doctrines of theology, which controversialists after them have piously and charitably reduced to formulae, 44 and developed through argument." 24 Commenting on this passage of the Essay , Chadwick writes that Newman's assertion contradicts both the "general argument" of the rest of his theory of development, and "every sane historical inquiry." 25 The claim that the apostles knew "without words" such "truths" as papal primacy, the Immaculate Conception, and transubstantiation, is a lapse of historical integrity which is rare for Newman. It almost seems that Newman included this passage in a half-hearted attempt to demonstrate his awareness of the traditional Christian assumption about revelation. Two authors who have come to Newman's defense in regard to this problem of new or ongoing revelation are Ian Ker and Hugo Meynell. Ker does so (in a response to Nicholas Lash) by distinguishing between "the faith" and "the rule of faith." All of the Christian revelation was "revealed in essence to the apostles, . . . finally and completely." This Ker refers to as "the faith." On the other hand there is "the rule of faith," which is "not settled." Revelation, or "the faith," was "consummated at the 'end of our Lord's ministry'; and yet the implications, the details, the possibilities of that revelation [i.e. 'the rule of faith'] had still to be worked out in doctrine and practice." 25 Thus, in Ker's analysis, the faith, or revelation, is given once-for-all and does not change; the rule of faith, which corresponds with doctrine and practice, does change. However, this analysis does not help Newman out of his bind, 45 because, in the Essay , both doctrine (the rule of faith) and revelation (the faith) are portrayed as entities which grow and change. Ker may hold that revelation, or "the faith," is immutable, but the Essay does not support the contention that Newman would concur with him. Meynell' s attempt, which consists in drawing an analogy between chemistry and theology, is equally unconvincing. Referring to the Essay , Chadwick had posed the question, "[l]n what meaningful sense may it be asserted that these new doctrines are not 'new revelation*?"^ 7 Meynell responds, "It may be asserted meaningfully in the sense that, while the new doctrines may not be logically derivable from the statements in Scripture, they may be arrived at by putting questions about the revelation given in Scripture, and testing one's answers in relation to it," the way a chemist puts questions and tests answers in the process of conducting research." The weakness of this argument, as is so often the case with argument from analogy, is the lack of any necessary connection between the two things being compared. Why must there be any connection between chemical discovery and Christian revelation? What makes sense for one area of inquiry may well be irrelevant in the other. Meynell recognizes this weakness, when he notes that his readers "might well accept the account given here, and yet maintain that natural science represents a proper use, Roman Catholic doctrinal development an abuse, of the intellectual , , 9Q operations described.^ 3 Precisely so. 46 The last word on this subject goes to Lash, who accurately assesses the danger Newman created for himself with the problem of ongoing revelation. It is not difficult to point out the weaknesses and inconsistencies in [Newman's] argument, and to show that, as a result of his failure rigorously to maintain his own insistence on the unity of revelation, much of the argument in the Essay is difficult to reconcile with any coherent defense (other than a thorough-going fideism such as he never contemplated) of the claim that "revelation closed with the death of the last apostle." 30 Thus, in the case of the three particular problems which have been the focus of this chapter, Newman has been found to lack scholarly integrity and consistency. Lash's earlier suggestion, that Newman's primary purpose was apologetic rather than systematic, seems relevant once again. CHAPTER 5 FINAL OBSERVATIONS The preceding analysis has shown Newman's attempt to formulate a "theory of development" to be significantly flawed. As Chadwick notes, Newman himself was aware of some of those flaws. For example, Newman sometimes claimed that the Essay was more a philosophical speculation than a real work of theology. * And at one point in his Apologia , Newman confessed, "I doubt not at all that I made many mistakes" in the Essay . ^ He furthermore admitted that the Essay contained a number of "obscure" and "guestionable" statements. ^ How do we account for the fact that a book containing obvious inconsistencies has come to exert such a great influence? It was stated at the outset that Newman's Essay has been widely viewed as the inevitable starting point of any examination of the development of doctrine. Why is this so? Does the book still deserve such status? Chadwick suggests that the Essay 's contribution to Roman Catholic doctrine was that it advocated "historical development" without at the same time advocating "liberal philosophies of development." The Essay could therefore function as a vehicle by which a "historical consciousness" could enter the Roman Catholic Church. 4 In other words, the 47 48 Essay made historical awareness and sensitivity acceptable to some Roman Catholics, whereas the historical speculations of thinkers like Bauer and Harnack, based as they were on "liberal philosophies of development," were unacceptable. Perhaps this contribution is one reason for the Essay 's abiding influence in Roman Catholic theological circles. Lash identifies some other possible explanations for the Essay ' s abiding influence. For instance, the Essay came to be a focus of much attention after the outbreak of the "modernist" crisis. Between 1907 and the end of the Second World War, many theologians were concerned to discover whether Newman's notion of development was "modernist." This debate kept interest in the Essay alive for more than forty years. ^ It is interesting to note that it was more the agenda of those involved in the "modernist" crisis, than Newman's own ideas, which resulted in his popularity at that time. Lash also notes that the "methodological revolution" which took place in France in the 1950 's, known as la nouvelle theoloqie , "with its abandonment of neo-scholastic categories in favour of a more concrete, historical approach, and the recovery of a sense of 'living tradition,' led to an increasing interest in Newman." 6 He cites de Lubac and Congar as examples of this phenomenon. However, this "renewed interest in Newman's Essay led to an increasing tendency to isolate those features of his argument which were congenial to the concerns" of the late 49 1950 'S; "and to refer to the resulting oversimplified restatements as 'Newman's theory of development.'" 7 The danger to which Lash is here referring is that, when one takes what one needs from Newman's notion of development and leaves the rest, the result can only be a distorted picture of Newman's overall argument. To be critically fair to Newman's Essay , one must consider it as a whole, without projecting one's own theological agenda onto it. Based on some remarks Newman makes in his Introduction to the Essay , we can conclude that his own hope for the book was that, if it should prove to have an abiding influence, the primary reason would be its usefulness . After considering two traditional "theories" which have been offered to account for religious change, Newman rejects them both precisely on the grounds of their lack of usefulness. The first of those is the " dictum of Vincent of Lerins," which maintains that "Christianity is what has been held always, everywhere, and by all." According to Newman, the difficulty with the Vincentian Canon "lies in applying it in particular cases. The rule is more serviceable in determining what is not, than what is Christianity. . . . "° The second traditional explanation is the Disciplina Arcani , which holds that the "doctrines which are associated with the later ages of the Church were really in the Church from the first, but not publicly taught. ..." Once again, the problem is lack of usefulness, or applicability. The discipline "is no key to the whole difficulty, . . . because 50 the variations continue beyond the time when it is conceivable that the discipline was in force. "^ Thus, neither the Vincentian Canon nor the Disciplina Arcani can account for all development. Furthermore, Newman concludes his Introduction to the Essay with the following challenge: "those who find fault with the explanation here offered of [Christianity's] historical phenomena will find it their duty to provide one for themselves ." 10 My guess is that Newman would have liked to have thought that, if his own explanation of development was still being taken seriously at the end of the twentieth century, the reason would be that no more useful explanation of religious change had yet been offered. But just how useful can a theory be which is founded on an unknowable and ineffable "Idea," which contradicts itself on several significant issues, and which gets sidetracked with a number of unhelpful sub-theories? If it is indeed the case that Newman's Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine helped ease a historical consciousness into the Roman Catholic Church, perhaps we should leave its accomplishment at that (and it is no small accomplishment), and find another, sounder, starting point for our contemporary examination of doctrinal development and religious change. We need not uncritically assume that Newman's Essay is still the "inevitable starting point for an investigation of development of doctrine." I am aware, in conclusion, that I have not taken up 51 Newman's challenge. I have found fault with his explanation of Christianity's historical phenomena, without providing an alternative explanation of my own. NOTES Chapter 1 1. Hugo A. Meynell, "Newman on Revelation and Doctrinal Development," The Journal of Theological Studies , n.s. XXX/1 (April 1979): 138. 2. Owen Chadwick, From Bossuet to Newman , 2d ed . (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), xiii. 4. Chadwick, From Bossuet , 20. 5. Ibid., 26. 6. Ibid., 68-9. Newman considered but rejected the notion of Disciplina Arcani as a viable explanation for Christian doctrinal change; cf. John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine , 6th ed . , with a Foreword by Ian Ker (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1989), 27-9. (The Essay was first published in 1845; the 6th ed . , used here, is a reprint of the 3d ed . of 1878.) 7. Chadwick, From Bossuet , 71. 8. Newman, Essay , 30, my emphasis. 9. The letter from Newman to Wilberforce was written on December 11, 1853; the emphasis is Newman's. Quoted in David Newsome, The Parting of Friends: The Wilberforces and Henry Manning (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1966), 385. Chapter 2 1. Lash, Newman , 61. Lash cites the examples of Henry F. Davis, Timothy C. Potts, and Jean Stern. 2. Ibid. 52 53 3, One key element of the Essay which is lacking in the sermon is the role of authority in the process of development. Newman intentionally left this topic out of the sermon: "Nor am I here in any way concerned with the question, who is the legitimate framer and judge of these dogmatic inferences under the Gospel, or if there be any. Whether the Church is infallible, or the individual, or the first ages, or none of these, is not the point here, but the theory of developments itself." John Henry Newman, Newman ' s University Sermons , with an Introduction by D. M. MacKinnon and J. D. Holmes (London: SPCK, 1970), 319-20. This book is a reprint of the 3d ed. of 1871; Newman's Oxford University Sermons were first published as a collection in 1843. On the role of authority in the Essay , see p. 19, below. .4. Newman, Sermons , 320, note 2; emphasis in original. 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid., e.g., 328, 329, 331, 332, 334. 7. Ibid., 323. 8. Ibid., 331. 9. Ibid., 331-2. 10. Ibid., 329, emphasis added. 11. Ibid. 12. Ibid., 335. 13. Ibid. 14. I an indebted to Lash for the portions of Newman's sermon cited in this paragraph. Cf. his discussion in Newman , 75-9. 15. Newman, Sermons , 316. 16. Ibid., 317. 17. Ibid., 332. 18. Newman, Essay , 30. 19. Ibid., 9. 20. Ibid., 5; emphasis added. 21. Ibid., 200; see also 438, 440-1, 445. 54 22. John Henry Newman, Apologia pro Vita Sua , ed . A. Dwight Culler (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., Riverside Editions, 1956), 183; see also 217, 222. (The Apologia was first published In 1864.) 23. Quoted in Lash, Newman , 16; see also 10, 11. 24. Chadwick, From Bossuet , 155. 25. Lash, Newman , 193, note 12; cf. 139. 26. Meynell, "Newman on Revelation," 139. 27. Newman, Essay , 29-30; emphasis Newman's. 28. Lash, Newman , 79. 29. Ibid., 81. 30. Ibid., 18. 31. Ibid. 32. Newman, Essay , 94. 33. Ibid., 107 34. Ibid., 63. 35. Ibid., 78. 36. Ibid. 37. Ibid., 153-5. 38. Ibid., 89. Chapter 3 1. Stephen Prickett, "Coleridge, Newman, and F. D. Maurice: Development of Doctrine and Growth of the Mind," Theology LXXVI/637 (July 1973): 341. 2. See Chadwick, From Bossuet , 169. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid., 182. 6. Ibid., 170. 55 7. Ibid., 171. 8. Ibid., 172. 9. Ibid., 183. 10. J. B. Mozley, The Theory of Development: A Criticism of Dr. Newman's Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (New York: E. P. Dutton and Co., 1879), 1. This book was first printed in The Christian Remembrancer , January 1847. The nine authors Mozley mentions are George Moberly, William Palmer, William Allies, F. D. Maurice, Healy Thompson, J. Spencer Northcote, William J. Irons, "A Quondam Disciple" (John Charles Abraham), and A. Irvine. 11. Charles Gore, The Holy Spirit and the Church (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1924), 209. Cf. Chadwick, From Bossuet , 96; Lash, Newman , 192, note 10. 12. Mozley, Theory , 19. 13. See Prickett, "Coleridge, Newman," 342. It is worth noting that Maurice is one of the few (perhaps the only) of the Anglican critics who frequently praised Newman, and did not call into question Newman's sincerity. "It seems to me that widely as Mr. Newman's present conclusions are distant from those he once adopted, he has not arrived at them by any tortuous or illegitimate process. ... I can see nothing in it which would induce me to disparage the sincerity of the mind which has passed through it. Nor am I much influenced by documents which have been brought forward to prove that Mr. Newman was in heart and feeling a Romanist while he adhered to our communion. Chronology in the history of mental conflicts is most uncertain. . . " F. D. Maurice, The Epistle to the Hebrews, with a Preface Containing a Review of Mr. Newman's Theory of Development (London: John W. Parker, 1846), cxxvii-cxxviii . 14. Mozley, Theory , 31, emphasis added. 15. Ibid., 33. 16. Ibid., 34. 17. Ibid., 36. 18. Ibid., 24. 19. Ibid., 27. 20. Ibid., 28-9. 21. Cf. Lash, Newman, 137. 56 22. Mozley, Theory , 221. 23. Maurice, Hebrews , xxi, xlviii-xlix. 24. John Charles Abraham, Mithridatest Or, Mr. Newman's Essay on Development its own Confutation (London: W. J. Cleaver, 1846), 29-30. 25. George Moberly, The Sayings of the Great Forty Days between the Resurrection and Ascension, Regarded as the Outlines of the Kingdom of God; in Five Discourses, with an Examination of Mr. Newman's Theory of Development (Philadelphia: H. Hooker, 1850), 207. 26. Mozley, Theory , 223. 27. W. J. Irons, The Theory of Development Examined, with Reference Specially to Mr. Newman's Essay, and to the Rule of St. Vincent of Lerins (London: Francis & John Rivington, 1846), 86, emphasis added. 28. Mozley, Theory , 144. 29. Ibid., 146. 30. Moberly, Sayings , 213. 31. Ibid., 215. 32. Ibid., 224. 33. Mozley, Theory , 219. 34. Irons, Theory , 44. 35. See above, p. 17; cf. Lash, Newman , 18. 36. Ibid., 119. 37. Chadwick, From Bossuet , 164. 38. Prickett, "Coleridge, Newman," 342. 39. Cf. Gore, Holy Spirit , 209 f. 40. Mozley, Theory , 226; cf. Chadwick, From Bossuet , 96-7. Chadwick's Chapter 5, "Newman and the Philosophy of Evolution," is thorough and convincing on the topic of Newman and the paradox of progress. 41. See Gore, Holy Spirit , 220. 42. Mozley, Theory , 157-8. 57 43. Moberly, Sayings , 203. 44. Ibid., 229. 45. Chadwick, From Bossuet , 98. 46. Robert Pattison, The Great Dissent; John Henry Newman and the Liberal Heresy (Oxford: Oxford University- Press, 1991), vi. 47. Ibid. 48 . Ibid. , vii . 49. Chadwick, From Bossuet , 97-8. 50. Ibid., 101. 51. Ibid. 52. Ibid., 118. Chapter 4 1. See above, p. 7. 2. Newman, Essay , 55. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid., 56. 5. Ibid., 35. 6. Ibid. 7. Ibid. , 36. 8. Ibid. 9. Quoted in Lash, Newman , 199, note 11. The copy of the Essay is in the archives of the Birmingham Oratory. 10. See above, and also Newman, Essay , 55. 11. Newman, Essay , 171-4. 12. Robert W. Wilken, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), 205. 13. See above, p. 10. 58 14. Newman, Essay , 30, 38, 75. 15. Ibid., 52. Newman is speaking here of what he calls "metaphysical developments," which he holds to be one of the primary types of development undergone by Christian doctrines. 16. Ibid., 122. 17. Chadwick, From Bossuet , 90. 18. Newman, Essay , 29. 19. Ibid., 68. 20. Ibid., 77. Newman is here quoting with approval his earlier work, The Prophetical Office of the Church . 21. Ibid., 86. 22. Ibid., 85. 23. Ibid., 382. Once again, Newman is quoting with approbation his own previous work, in this case, Essays Critical and Historical , vol. 2. 24. Ibid., 191-2. 25. Chadwick, From Bossuet , 154. 26. Ian T. Ker, "Newman's Theory: Development or Continuing Revelation?" in Newman and Gladstone Centennial Essays , ed . James B. Bastable (Dublin: Veritas Publications, 1978), 155. 27. Chadwick, From Bossuet , 195. 28. Meynell, "Newman on Revelation," 150; emphasis in original. 29. Ibid., note 2. 30. Lash, Newman , 100. Chapter 5 1. Chadwick, From Bossuet , 185. 2. Quoted in ibid., 186. 3. See ibid., 187. 4. Ibid., 195. 59 5. See Lash, Newman , 147-50. 6. Ibid., 153. 7. Ibid., 154. 8. Newman, Essay , 10-11. The "Vincentian Canon" was a popular tool with the Tractarians. Newman in his Anglican period, Keble, and others, frequently made use of the Canon in their attempts to demonstrate the substantial identity of the Church of England with the Church of the apostolic and patristic eras. 9. Ibid., 27, 29. .10. Ibid., 31. BIBLIOGRAPHY Abraham, Charles John ("A Quondam Disciple"). Mithridates; Or, Mr. Newman's Essay on Development its Own Confutation . London: W. J. Cleaver, 1846. Bastable, James D., ed. Newman and Gladstone Centennial Essays . Dublin: Veritas Publications, 1978. Chadwick, Owen. From Bossuet to Newman . 2d. ed . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987. . The Victorian Church . 2 vols. An Ecclesiastical History of England Series, ed. J. C. Dickinson, nos. 7 and 8. London: Adam & Charles Black, 1970. Gore, Charles. The Holy Spirit and the Church . New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1924. Irons, W. J. The Theory of Development Examined, with Reference Specially to Mr. Newman's Essay, and to the Rule of St. Vincent of Lerins . London: Francis & John Rivington, 1846. Lash, Nicholas. Newman on Development: The Search for an Explanation in History . London: Sheed and Ward, 1975. Maurice, F. D. The Epistle to the Hebrews, with a Preface Containing a Review of Mr. Newman's Theory of Development . London: John W. Parker, 1846. Meynell, Hugo A. "Newman on Revelation and Doctrinal Development." The Journal of Theological Studies , n.s. XXX/1 (April 1979): 138-52. Moberly, George. The Sayings of the Great Forty Days between the Resurrection and Ascension, Regarded as the Outlines of the Kingdom of God; in Five Discourses, with an Examination of Mr. Newman's Theory of Development . Philadelphia: H. Hooker, 1850. Mozley, J. B. The Theory of Development: A Criticism of Dr. Newman's Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine . New York: E. P. Dutton and Co., 1879. (First printed in The Christian Remembrancer , January 1847.) 60 61 Newman, John Henry. Apologia pro Vita Sua . Edited by A. Dwight Culler. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., Riverside Editions, 1956. (First published in 1864.) . The Arians of the Fourth Century . London: Longmans, 1833. An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine . 6th ed . With a Foreword by Ian Ker. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1989. (Reprint of 1878 ed.; first published in 1845.) . Newman's University Sermons . With an Introduction by D. M. MacKinnon and J. D. Holmes. London: SPCK, 1970. (Reprint of 3d ed . of 1871; first published in 1843.) Newsome, David. The Parting of Friends: The Wilberforces and Henry Manning . Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1966. Pattison, Robert. The Great Dissent: John Henry Newman and the Liberal Heresy . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Prickett, Stephen. "Coleridge, Newman, and F. D. Maurice: Development of Doctrine and Growth of the Mind." Theology LXXVI/637 (July 1973): 340-49. Sykes, Stephen. The Identity of Christianity: Theologians and the Essence of Christianity from Schleiermacher to Barth . Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984. Walgrave, Jan Hendrik. Unfolding Revelation: The Nature of Doctrinal Development . Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1972. Wilken, Robert W. The Christians as the Romans Saw Them . New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984. V )> 1 EDS/WESTON JESUIT LIBRARY 3 0135 00204 6835"